Informal Session: Talanoa on The Healer and the Psychiatrist
Organizer: Mike Poltorak
This session on the documentary the Healer and the Psychiatrist is an opportunity to learn more about the process and intention of the documentary to contribute to improvement of health communication and outcomes, and share resonant and dissonant experience on themes such as health seeking, mental illness and trust from other parts of Oceania. We look forward to frank and open discussion.
The documentary is available to be viewed by all conference participants. Please check the conference schedule for a link to the film.
On the South Pacific Island group of Vava’u, the traditional healer Emeline Lolohea treats people affected by spirits. One day away by ferry, the only Tongan Psychiatrist Dr Mapa Puloka has established a public psychiatry well known across the region. Though they have never met in person, this film creates a dialogue between them on the nature of mental illness and spiritual affliction. Their commitment and transformative communication offers challenges and opportunities to help address the growing global mental health crisis.
The documentary and visual intervention is based on long term medical anthropology research and collaboration since 1998. Inspired by Tongan use of funeral videos for creating connections with relatives and friends located in New Zealand, Australia and the USA, this documentary creates a video conversation between positions on the influence of spirits in the sickness of the living that are popularly regarded as contradictory.
The documentary has been accepted at many international documentary and ethnographic film festivals including the Hawaii International Film Festival and FIFO Tahiti 2021. It recently won the best feature film award at Society of Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival in 2020. On December 19th it was screened on Tongan Television with a following talanoa.
Accompanied by an interactive online resource called Project Pouono it can be used by NGOs, universities and health organisations for training and teaching. For more information about the documentary: https://valueofvideo.com/healerpsychiatrist/
For more information, please contact Mike Poltorak, University of Kent, <firstname.lastname@example.org>